Graydon Carter and Film Festivals: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about arts and entertainment

Graydon Carter
Charles Sykes / Invision / AP

The Years With Graydon
David Kamp | Vanity Fair
“There are a lot of people at V.F. who have been with Graydon for all or most of his tenure, and some, like me, who have worked alongside him even longer. You don’t engender that kind of loyalty simply by offering a good benefits package. … Graydon has always possessed a showman’s charisma, a persuasive ability to make you believe, to use one of his stock lines, that This is the best job you’re ever going to have.”

Best Pictures, Maybe, but Telluride Is Not About Oscars
A.O. Scott | The New York Times
“Spending time at a film festival is like living inside an accordion. Time expands and contracts—months are compressed into a few hours of screen time, and a day of screenings lasts a week—and you can’t always extract the music from the noise. The Telluride Film Festival, which spans each Labor Day weekend in this high-altitude former mining town, is an old-time squeeze box wired up to a Dolby sound system.”

John Legend: ‘Trump Is an Embarrassment to the Country’
Lauren Duca | The Guardian
“Legend and [Chrissy] Teigen have a massive amount of agency in their careers, although that doesn’t mean there aren’t compromises. As a mainstream star, Legend is well aware that a careful balance between art and commerce is crucial to his continued success. A lot of artists are rather precious when discussing this aspect of songwriting. Legend is refreshingly frank.”

This Is for Boston
Isaiah Thomas | The Players’ Tribune
“I may act like a tough guy on the court. And I may seem like I have ice in my veins when I’m competing. But it ain’t ice, really. I got blood and I got a heart like everyone else. And so when I say this hurts, man—just know that it isn’t because of anything anyone else did. It’s only because of something I did. I fell in love with Boston.”

Kevin Smith’s Celebrity Reboot
Abraham Riesman | Vulture
“Kevin Smith has used his second act to craft a new-model utopia of modern fame, one built on niche interests, a direct line to fans, and an unmistakably unique voice. At one time, Smith seemed to represent a new model of filmmaking: cheap, lewd, bracing, and provocative. Now he’s again at the center of a new model: the business of niche audiences and narrowcasting directly to fans. … He just might exemplify the future of celebrity.”

Christina Tosi Has a Cookie
Mary H.K. Choi | Eater
“As accessible or sentimental as her food tastes, it requires a fiercely analytical and precise mind to make a Milk Bar Birthday Cake reminiscent of an old-school birthday cake from a box. This is why Milk Bar recipes are exhaustive, harrowingly convoluted ways of getting to a particular flavor destination from our collective youths. Liberating textures or flavors that would otherwise stay trapped inside the minds of Nabisco food scientists is not easy.”

Historical Art or Racist Propaganda? How Should Hollywood Handle Problematic Classic Like Gone With the Wind?
Tre’vell Anderson | The Los Angeles Times
“Films ranging from D.W. Griffith’s silent-era The Birth of a Nation (in which members of the Ku Klux Klan are portrayed as heroes) and Nazi sympathizer Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will have long been subject to debate. … While these pictures can be considered art and each has historical significance, they can also be recognized as sentimentalizing or implicitly endorsing behavior now thought to be reprehensible.”

The Courageous Radicalism of Kate Millett
Maggie Doherty | New Republic
“Millett didn’t stop at the social; culture, too, played a role in shoring up patriarchy. A Victorianist by training, Millett also analyzed how male writers, both canonical and contemporary, portrayed heterosexual relations; she found that all too often, male literature suggested that men had a right to dominate women—politically, socially, sexually.”